Man backpacking with rucksack along a UK hiking trail

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Want to embrace the great outdoors and leave a smaller footprint? Check out these adventure Ideas!

Whether big or small, long or short, simple or outlandish, plans to get outside are always plans well made. If you’re not sure where to start or want some suggestions to get the ball rolling you’ve come to the right place.

This article is chockablock with awesome adventure ideas, but adventure ideas with a difference. These innovative plans will help you embrace the best of what nature has to offer but with the smallest impact possible. Many can be done without a single emission and will actually have a positive impact. We’re talking human-powered, local, environmentally-friendly and above all, adventure-filled.

Because you don’t need to jump on a plane or drive to the other side of the country to get your adrenaline fix – these outdoor pursuits will prove it!

You’ll find one-day adventure ideas and overnight challenges to week-long expeditions and more; suggestions for eco-friendly gear and beginner’s adventure ideas to lightly tickle your comfort zone all the way to blistering feats that will leave that comfort zone miles behind in a cloud of dust.

And you wanna know something cool? Pretty much all of them can be done in any country around the world and they’re damn cheap!

Jump ahead to…

This article may contain affiliate links, they will never cost you more money but helps Veggie Vagabonds keep making content like this – thank you!

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Kayaking: one of the best things to try outdoors in the summer

Here’s Why Lower Impact Adventure Ideas are a Bright Idea

If you’re reading this article then you’re probably aware our natural world is taking a battering. Ecosystems are disappearing, climates are changing and wildlife populations are plummeting.

At Veggie Vagabonds our whole ethos is that spending more time outside embarking on ethical adventures could be the solution. Many of the lower-impact adventure ideas in this article can be done straight from your front door without the use of a motor and others utilize public transport. We’ve also suggested ways to make your gear and time outside more sustainable.

Most importantly, all of them will help you make the most of your surroundings and protect ’em for years to come!

Check out other top ways to make your time outside more sustainable on our Green section here. Or sign up to our mailing list to find our latest content below.

Couple on cycling adventure
A good bike with panniers is likely the ultimate adventure-enabler!

What Might You Need for These Outdoor Adventure Ideas?

Though there’s no decisive all-round outdoor packing list, here’s a few ‘adventure-enablers’ which can open up a whole world of fun…

  • A comfortable bicycle with panniers
  • A rucksack
  • A tent/hammock/bivvy, sleeping bag and gear
  • Some good quality hiking boots or outdoor shoes
  • Something you can move across water in i.e. kayak, paddleboard, plank of wood…
  • A form of navigating and communication
  • An open mind and some imagination

If you’re looking for some more detailed kit recommendations, check out:

In the market for some adventure-enablers? Using the links below won’t cost you a dime more but will help us keep creating content like this!

By no means do you need any of these (we’ve met naked ramblers who can definitely confirm this) but these items are quite handy at making a whole lot of possibilities become very accessible. If you’re already overflowing with adventure ideas then they can be good to gradually add to your adventure itinerary.

Need more advice on outdoor equipment? Check out our Gear + Reviews section.

Girl camping in tent and cooking a camping meal on a camping stove
Get yourself a tent and it will open up heaps of outdoor pursuit ideas

The Adventure Ideas!

These adventure ideas, outdoor challenges and experiences make the most of the environments around you and so you can leave the car at home. Depending on where you live, many of them can be done 100% human-powered by either walking, running, cycling, swimming, paddling etc. to start them. Others can be done using public transport if you live in cities or urban areas.

A quick note: some of these things might take more or less time depending on where you live!

To help you find the right thing, we’ve broken this section down into categories with easy adventure ideas first and more gruelling options towards the end

Beginner’s adventure ideas

  • Spend the night camping in your garden, or pitch a hammock!
  • Cycle to the nearest water source and go wild swimming
  • Try off-road running (fell running/hill running/mountain)
  • Cycle to a nice lookout point to watch a sunrise or sunset
  • Walk to a park and climb a tree
  • Go for your first hike
  • With a mountain bike, try cycling a path you might normally walk
  • Go for a hike and try to go waste-free
  • Find the closest national park or natural area you can visit with public transport
  • Cycle to a woodland you’ve not visited before
  • Take a camping stove and go make dinner somewhere outdoors
  • Go for a run at night
  • Try and build a fire without using a lighter

For beginners, some of these guides might be useful: Hiking 101 & Camping 101

Mossy waterfall with milky water
“Don’t go chasing waterfalls”… great song, terrible message!

One day Adventure Ideas

  • By foot and bike get to the tallest peak in your county/region
  • Spend a day collecting rubbish from your nearby trails, natural areas, parks etc.
  • See how far you can walk in a straight line (with some forward planning this guy nearly made it across Wales!)
  • Create your own triathlon
  • Use a floating device (paddleboard, canoe, kayak) to travel along from your closest river to the next county/region
  • Navigate a hike using only a map and compass
  • Spend the day wildlife spotting in your nearest nature reserve
  • Go for a cycle and at every T junction alternate between turning right or left (can be very interesting)
  • Find the closest waterfall and get there motor-free
  • Invest in an inflatable paddleboard, cycle to a nearby river and spend the day on the water
  • See how much elevation you can gain in a day
  • Swim the perimeter of a nearby lake

Have more mini adventure ideas? Share them in the comments!

Overnight adventure ideas

  • Go for a hike with your tent, camp, then watch the sunrise
  • Cycle without a destination in mind for 50 miles and then wild camp in the closest available space
  • See how far you can cycle/walk away from your house within a day, camp the night, then cycle home
  • Go for a night hike
  • Pick a nearby woodland and wild camp in a hammock
  • Cook dinner on an outdoor fire
  • Wild camp on your own and try to go zero waste
  • Hitchhike as far as you can in a day, find a spot to wild camp, then hitchhike back
  • Test out different sleeping systems, like using a tarp to make a shelter, camping in just a sleeping bag, hammock camping, bivvy bag camping etc.

Weekend adventure ideas

  • Cycle or walk to your closest national park, explore, then cycle back
  • Build a shelter in the woods
  • Plan a 3-day backpacking trip, starting and finishing from your house
  • Build a raft and test it on a local river
  • Try and climb the height of Everest (or other mountains) on local peaks
  • See how many waterfalls you can find in a weekend cycle tour
  • Plan a climbing trip but cycle there and back
  • Find the closest cave and get there using only human power
  • Go for a weekend cycle tour without spending any money
  • Canoe or kayak from the nearest river all the way to the next region
  • Hitchhike to the tallest peak in your country, climb it, then hitchhike back
  • See if you can manage a camping trip taking only 10 items in your rucksack
  • Plan a canoe or kayak trip, picking up rubbish along the way
Man on mountain standing in front of incredible sunset
Can’t beat finishing/starting the day with a sunset/sunrise

Sustainable adventure ideas & eco-friendly gear options

  • Plan a waste-free hiking trip or cycle tour
  • With some planning, try and spend a day outdoors using only second-hand outdoor gear
  • Try and find a second-hand kayak or canoe and plan a trip on nearby rivers
  • Upcycle bike gear and create your own touring bike
  • Using scrap materials build a treehouse or outdoor shelter
  • Plan a multiday outdoor trip using only locally-sourced foods
  • On a longer-term trip, like cycling touring or backpacking, use a solar charger (UK & USA) and see how long you can keep your electronics topped up without plugging into mains
  • Go to a charity shop and find an item to base an adventure around

To help make your time outside a little greener have a read of the 7 Leave No Trace Principles before your next adventure

Adventure ideas using public transport & ideas for city-dwellers!

  • Take your bike and jump on the train that travels the furthest without having to change. Jump out at the furthest point and cycle back
  • Find the furthest travelling bus and walk back from the furthest spot (if you go for coaches, you could make it really interesting!)
  • Try your hand at geocaching!
  • Plan a mini sightseeing trip but run between places
  • Go urban exploring (urbex)
  • Use hitchhiking to reach local natural areas
  • Find a bouldering area you can reach by bus or train, throw your crashpad on a go climbing
  • Using online forums and communities, see if you can meet other hikers/campers/climbers/cyclists and share a lift for outdoor trips (check out our Ethical Adventure Community!)

At Home Adventure Ideas

  • Build a treehouse in the garden
  • Practise knot tying
  • Build a raft to use on a nearby river/lake
  • Try and make a hammock from reused materials
  • Get all your gear maintained and prepared for an outdoor adventure
Climbing girl searching for outdoor activity ideas
Climbing: one of the best adventure ideas to connect you to your surroundings

24 Hour Challenge Ideas & Longer-term Possibilities

  • Run a mile an hour for 24 hours
  • Walk 100 km in 24 hours
  • Complete a 100% human-powered wild camping trip once a month for a whole year
  • Complete a centurion cycle (100 miles)
  • Complete a 100% human-powered wild swim once a month for a whole year
  • Climb a new peak every month for 12 months using public transport or bonus points for… you guessed it: human power!
  • Each month visit a lesser-known national park or natural area using only public transport
  • See how far you can swim/paddle/cycle/run/walk in 24 hours
  • Visit all of the natural areas (parks, reserves, woods etc.) in your county/region without a motor over the course of a year
  • See how many national parks you can visit in one year only hitchhiking to get around

Pretty crazy adventure ideas & physical challenges

For some of these you might want to use our Adventure Planning Guide

Outdoor Adventure Ideas Pin
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90+ Low-Impact Adventure Ideas, Outdoor Challenges & Experiences

The outdoors is awesome because you can create the experience of a lifetime in the least obvious places, you just need a little imagination and determination.

Whether you’re looking for some adventure holiday ideas, outdoor pursuits to try or interesting things to add to your bucket list, all these options can be enjoyed with a clear conscience.

If you’ve got any other cool ideas for low-impact outdoor challenges or ideas for adventure, share ’em in the comments we’d love to hear your ideas!

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